| Leading off from the
northern edge of Jemaa-el-Fna are the winding alleyways
of the souks, the huge crowded, chaotic central market of Marrakech.
Browsers can select anything from jewellery, textiles or carpets
to herbs, love potions and camels. Travellers will find these souks
well worth exploring, regardless of whether they aim to buy
anything or not. The area that the souks cover may at first seem like
a labyrinth but it is, in fact, deceptively compact and each area
There are still workshops, with ironworkers, dyers, carpenters and
tailors plying their trade in the small shop fronts. Divided into
sections according to the trade they conduct, they are best approached
from the rue Souk Smarine. This is a busy and crowded thoroughfare, covered
to afford protection from the sun, runs for half the length of
the souks before
forking into Souk el Attarin and Souk el Kebir.
Along the Souk el Attarin are the metalwork, dyed goods, spice
and metalwork souks. Souk el Kebir area has cassettes, leatherwear, carpets, traditional Moroccan clothing and
cheap Western goods.
necessary, travellers should start at around 1 - 3rd
of what they require to pay. A good idea of quality and prices can
be found at the government-run Ensemble Artisanal, on
avenue Mohammed V, just before the Koutoubia Mosque. This small
shopping mall and craft training centre provides high-quality products
at reasonable, fixed prices.
Tourists do not have to walk far before the first offers on carpets
are made. And those with time and patience can easily spend hours
drinking mint tea, sighing, head shaking and smiling while rugs and
carpets are unrolled. For those who are serious about buying a carpet,
a good place for it is Bazaar Chichoua, 5 Souk des
Ksous. Other interesting things to look out for are wooden articles, copper and silverware, silk or cotton garments and jewellery, which can
all be found in Galleria Ministero del Gusto, 22
Derb Azouz el Moussine, in the souks, or L’Orientaliste,
15 rue de la Libertie, Guéliz. Trésorie du
Sud, rue el Mouassine, is 1 of many small jewellers
the Mouassine Mosque.
For leather goods, Place Vendome, 141 avenue Mohammed
V, is a good place to go. In the streets around place Abdel Moumen ben Ali,
there are patisseries, fashion outlets, English-language bookshops and computer stores.
0900 hrs - 2000/2100 hrs Monday to
Some close for lunch and some may close on Fridays, some, including
those in the souks, remain open on Sunday and on public holidays.
No provision is made for visitors to reclaim any sales tax or VAT
on accommodation or products that they
and many shop-owners actively
resist giving an official receipt, as this forces them to declare
(and pay) the VAT.